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Group Urging Walkout To Protest Iraq Invasion

By Jia Xing

MIT’s No War Coalition is advocating a campus-wide anti-war walkout should the United States invade Iraq.

If a war begins, 300 participants have pledged to walk out of classes at 11:30 a.m. on the following school day and congregate in front of 77 Massachusetts Ave. They then plan to join a larger rally at Government Center, according to the No War Coalition Web site.

The rally will include anti-war coalitions from area universities including Harvard University, Boston College, Boston University, Simmons College, Wellesley College, and Northeastern University. Similar protests will be held on campuses nationwide.

The group is holding a drive to solicit pledges to walk out of classes. Currently, over 300 MIT students have pledged to walk out of classes, said Stephanie Wei Wang ’03, a member of the coalition.

Members feel responsible

The members of the MIT No War Coalition are determined to be heard.

“Last time MIT students got together to rally, it was very effective. People really paid attention. MIT receives a lot of military funding; we’re here to say that we’re not cogs for war. We’re not going to let this happen,” Wang said.

“People at MIT feel socially responsible for the war. We are a part of military research and projects. We’re an institution for making better bombs. So when Bush decides to drop those bombs on innocent people, we have a say against it,” said Jeff Duritz G, a member of the coalition. “People tend to assume that MIT is not socially conscious. We’re trying to expand people’s consciousness and try to introduce the idea that its ok to be against war,” he said.

“We’re not people to commit to registered discontent. We need to express a serious, deliberate response,” said Aimee L. Smith PhD ’02, a member of the MIT Social Justice Cooperative.

MIT community responses vary

The coalition has received varied responses from the MIT community.

“There’s a mixed feeling from professors. Several professors pledged and many donated the financial support to us, and some are speaking at the rally. Others are more hesitant,” said Julia K. Steinberger G, a coalition member.

Wang said some professors have discussed the possibility of a no-penalty policy for participants in the walkout.

“We are planning in the event of a war; we’re not sitting around waiting for war to happen. We’ll be heading a variety of events,” said Gan Golan G.